WOMEN AND POVERTY
In 2003, there were 35.9 million people living with incomes
below the Federal poverty threshold.1 The poverty rate
for all women 18 years and older in 2003 was 12.4 percent (13.8
million women). Poverty rates vary by age group among women, with
the youngest women aged 18-24 years reporting a poverty rate of
19.7 percent. The lowest poverty rate (8.9 per- cent) was found
among women aged 45-64. The poverty rate increases to 10.6 percent
for women aged 65-74 and to 14.3 percent for women aged 75 years
Women in female-headed households with no spouse experienced higher
rates of poverty (24.4 percent) than women in married-couple families
(5.2 percent) and men in male-headed households (8.8 percent).
1 The Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds
that vary by family size and composition to determine who is poor.
If a family’s total income is less than that family’s
threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered
to be poor. Examples of 2003 poverty levels were $9,393 for an
individual, $12,015 for a family of two, $14,680 for a family of
three, and $18,810 for a family of four.